Warriors Come Out to PlaaayRemember when ESPN had a little theme song for its highlights of each NBA team? The refrain for Golden State went, "Warriors come out to plaaay," which I found to be amusing since the Warriors usually came out to get their butts kicked. Now, though, I can't get that infernal song out of my head--it's on constant rotation on my mental turntable, along with Jack Buck's Kirk Gibson home run call: "I can't believe what I just saw!" Is a barely .500 team that qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the regular season really going to eliminate one of the winningest teams in NBA history? Golden State's 103-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday gave the Warriors a 3-1 series lead. Baron Davis scored 33 points on 12-17 shooting, adding eight rebounds and four assists. If the Mavericks have an answer for him they have yet to reveal it. Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points and 15 rebounds for Dallas, including two three pointers in the last :23 as the Mavericks mounted a late rally.
I don't think that people have really wrapped their minds around how incredible this is. The Dallas Mavericks went 67-15--after an 0-4 start. None of their key players are injured. Their star player, Nowitzki, will probably win the MVP. Only two eighth seeded teams have beaten number one seeds since the NBA went to the current playoff format in 1984--and one of those eighth seeds was a 27-23 Knicks team that beat a 33-17 Heat team in the lockout shortened 1999 season. That's not exactly the same thing as a 42-40 Warriors team running a 67-15 Mavericks team right out of the gym. The only other example, 42-40 Denver beating 63-19 Seattle in 1994, is somewhat similar to this year's Warriors-Mavericks series--but Dallas won a few more games this year than Seattle did and had a better team last year (NBA Finalist) than Seattle did in 1993 (Western Conference Finalist).
Of course, it is possible that Dallas will restore order in the basketball universe by winning the next three games; the Suns overcame a 3-1 deficit versus the Lakers last year. Also, the Mavericks beat the Rockets in 2005 after falling behind 2-0. Charles Barkley's 1993 Phoenix Suns lost the first two games of the first round to the L.A. Lakers--at home, in a best of five series, no less--and recovered to not only win that series but to advance all the way to the NBA Finals. Whether Dallas authors a great comeback or Golden State pulls off perhaps the biggest upset in NBA history we are witnessing a series of historic significance.
posted by David Friedman @ 5:54 PM